England’s Maurice Leyland was the first-degree stonewaller, an insomniac’s delight! As legend has it, spectators in England would bet on how dot many balls would Leyland take to score his next run, and Leyland would invariably oblige those who bet on a very high number of balls. But he more than made up for his agonizing dourness with batting, with his quick wit.
Leyland was in the form of his life in the 1936-7 Ashes. Before the Ashes, he met Bill “Tiger” O’Reilly(the most feared legspinner of Australia before a certain blonde kid arrived, and later, a ruthless cricket analyst) at the Belle Vue Hotel in Brisbane and told him point-blank in the face, in his gruff Yorkshire ascent, ” Well Bill, the destiny of this rubbers’ is in the lap of gods, but one thing I can tell thi for certain I’ve got thee taped (an expression for – I’ ve got your measure), and tha knows it.” He wasn’t boasting. He proceeded to the Bull Ring, and scored 126.
During this game, he appealed for light while batting and it was turned down. However, after a few more overs, when after the innings break when the Australian Opener Jack Fingleton was facing a firebrand Bill Voce, the umpires decided to put an end to the proceedings of the day. Leyland at once engaged the Umpire in conversation. “Tha’s got really good eyesight.” The Umpire replied, “Now Maurice, no sarcasm.”
“Ah’m not being sarcastic. Ah’m just saying tha’s got a real good eyesight.” Replied Leyland.
“Off to the dressing Room now Maurice” – Said the Umpire.
Tate promptly paused, put his eye to his hand, and gazed hard ahead. “Tell me Ump, wheers the bloody dressing room???”